Road Tests

Road Test: Ford Kuga ST-Line (2017)

Ford fights back against market leader Qashqai and Sportage

By Rob Gill Published

Ford | Kuga

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FORD isn’t used to finishing second or third, like Arsenal.

It has a team of champions. The Fiesta, No1 car. Transit, No1 van. Focus, No1 family car. Ranger, No1 pick-up.

But the sticking point, the Achilles heel if you like, has been its crossover/SUVs.

The Nissan Qashqai is miles in front, followed by the Kia Sportage in second, and then the Ford Kuga in third.

The Qashqai is miles in front, followed by the Kia Sportage in second, and then the Ford Kuga in third.

Why?

For several reasons. The Qashqai is the yardstick, the car that defines “crossover”. It was the first to hit showrooms ten years ago – and it’s a good 8/10 car. It doesn’t do anything exceptional but it does everything very well. Stylish, big boot, good equipment, all-round cameras, well priced, and customers keep coming back.

The Sportage is a looker too and has Kia’s brilliant seven-year warranty. Sales have doubled to 40,000 in just four years.

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Key facts: FORD KUGA ST-LINE

Price: £31,795

Engine: 2litre turbo diesel

Economy: 54mpg

0-62mph: 10 secs

Top speed: 124mph

Emissions: 134g/km

Road tax: £130

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Which has left Kuga playing catch-up. Ford has upped its game by giving the 2017 Kuga a makeover – including a new face and new sporty ST-Line and posh Vignale versions.

It’s basically a Focus on stilts

But the big news is the tech – the new SYNC3 touchscreen is much improved. It is ten times faster than the old system and has Apple CarPlay and wifi updates. It wants to be your friend. You had to press the old SYNC2 as hard as a fingerprint blotter, this is pinch-and-swipe. It’s slick.

Plus the 2017 Kuga can now self-steer in parking bays at Tesco and other options include hands-free boot and retractable tow bar.

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For me, the Kuga is the best to drive. It has the best chassis. It’s basically a Focus on stilts.

It’s just a little expensive. The much-loved Titanium with the cleaner 1.5-litre diesel (up to 64mpg, 115g/km CO2) is £25,795 – or £259 a month on finance. And the ST-Line tested here, with a 2-litre diesel, AWD and powershift auto, is a hefty £31,795. And it didn’t have a reversing camera. You can buy a new Evoque for less.

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